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Meet Max Rauch

Happy Tuesday, friends! Here we are with our first ever interview! Max Rauch is one of the guitarists/singers behind legendary New Jersey band LKFFCT, runs Domestic Bliss Recording and is one half the duo behind Pizza Bagel Records. With LKFFCT's new single "Moss" coming out 9/30, I figured this would be a perfect time to catch up with Max and get to know him better.

Q: What are your secrets to keeping a band going for over 10 years? I’m sure you’ve seen lots of bands/scenes/venues come and go through the years.

RAUCH: It might sound a bit corny but I think our friendship has been the key. Some of us have known each other for close to two decades and we have a really special bond as friends first. I also think we tend to keep our expectations as a band realistic after doing it for so many years. At this point we have no grand “career” ambitions. We just want to create the best music we possibly can while enjoying every minute in the practice room, the studio, or at a show.

(LKFFCT in 2022. Photo by Robert Scheuerman)

Q: How did you get into self-recording your music? What was the hardest part to figure out?

RAUCH: I know a lot of people will answer this type of question by saying “I got into recording myself because my early studio experiences were underwhelming.” But that wasn’t really the case for me. I was fortunate to have really great early studio experiences that were inspiring. I began recording my friends band’s when I was like 14 or 15. My older brother & dad were both musicians so we had some home-recording gear that I was able to cut my teeth on but I was definitely more focused on/interested in becoming a touring musician (which I did right out of high school).

(Tourmaline circa 2005 I'm pictured 4th from the left sitting atop the car.)

It wasn’t until my mid-late twenties that I started getting into recording in a more serious way in our rehearsal space. The hardest part was definitely learning how to record a drum kit! So many factors are involved (phase alignment, mic placement, mic choice, the room, the drummer, the drums themselves, the tuning, you get the point lol)

(Recording session 2021)

Q: How do you manage being a father, a husband, work and manage to put out music through the year?

RAUCH: I try not to stop and think too much about it. I just trust my gut and keep on chugging (a lot of Cozz Coffee). Parenthood has been a challenging new frontier but we’re almost a year into it and the lack of sleep feels very normal now. I’m also extremely fortunate to have a loving family & great friends that help keep my mental health in check.

Q: What did a perfect Saturday Morning look like to you as a kid and what does it look like now?

RAUCH: A perfect Saturday morning as a kid was definitely pancakes, cartoons, and hanging out with my siblings. Now, a perfect Saturday morning would probably be sleeping until 8 am and waking up to a nice cool but sunny morning. Maybe some fresh melon & coffee for breakfast. I really like cantaloupe.

(My siblings and I! I'm the little guy on the left. 1989)

Q: What band/songwriter do you feel you relate to the most?

RAUCH: This question is always difficult for me to answer because I’ve been inspired / related to so many different artists over the years. The closest answer I’ve got has got to be Nirvana. If it weren’t for the intro riff of “smells like teen spirit” knocking my socks off when I was 8 years old I probably would’ve never wanted to play guitar/drums or join a band. My holy band trinity would probably be Nirvana, Ramones, Beatles. A lot of people would probably scoff at that but should I lie? I like what I like!

(Rocking out in the year 2000 note the Kurt Cobain poster behind me)

Q: How did Pizza Bagel Records get started? Could you tell me more about it?

RAUCH: Pizza Bagel started as a collaborative effort w/ my friend and one of my favorite NJ artists, John Cozz. The goal was to basically create a home/hub for all of our music & content. We’ve tried to avoid acting as a typical record label with less of an emphasis on signing bands and doing traditional releases, and more emphasis on engaging with a wide variety of artists for compilations and general content. It’s been a really fun project thus far and we’ve definitely got some cool new stuff in the works.

(Max Rauch & John Cozz 2022)

I hope you've enjoyed our first ever interview on the Sonic Culture Blog. Big thanks to Max for taking the time. Be sure to follow him on Instagram and learn about all the different creative endeavors he's got going on. Stay tuned for more interviews in the future as we get to learn more about the people behind the music. Remember, LKFFCT is releasing their upcoming single "Moss" September 30th. You can pre-save it now.

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